The Speaker of the Cook Islands parliament says it's important to forge homegrown solutions for problems in Pacific democracies.
Niki Rattle was a keynote speaker at thebiennial Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth, held in Wellington last week.
A non-MP with extensive grassroots level work experience, Mrs Rattle highlighted the challenge of parliament engaging more with the community.
She says the conference has been very useful for small Pacific parliaments like hers, which are generally under-resourced.
"And then we also feed off each other in the Pacific. One thing I've discovered in the life of Pacific people is they're very good at supporting eachother. Instead of always looking far away for assistance, it's often good to work with your own group because often they are experiencing the same thing, and I think as a (collective) body you can solve some of the problems."
The Cook Islands Speaker Niki Rattle